When American settlers left the Atlantic coast and clams behind and made their way to the Midwestern Corn Belt, this creamy soup became a new take on New England clam chowder. Like most chowders, this version has milk, cream, and chunks of potatoes, but to add texture and maximize the sweet corn flavor, some of the corn kernels are blended with milk. Serve this hearty soup for lunch on its own, or for dinner along with a fresh salad.
What to buy: If you’re using corn cut from the cob, you’ll need about 4 ears to make 3 cups of kernels. If you’re using frozen corn, you’ll need 1 pound.
- 1Place the bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a small paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.
- 2Add the onion to the bacon fat, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1 cup of the corn and 1 cup of the milk in a blender and blend until smooth; set aside.
- 3Increase the heat to medium high, add the corn-milk purée, remaining 2 cups of corn and 2 cups of milk, potatoes, and measured salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are just cooked through and the soup has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
- 4Add the cream, stir to combine, and return to a simmer. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the chives and reserved bacon.